Saturday, June 28, 2008

Getting out of Rome - Ostia Antica

On my own in Rome, what to do, what to do?  I've already seen most of the city on our last trip here last winter, so I decided to get out of town to a place called Ostia Antica, which was the port for Rome back in ancient times, and was preserved by the mud that silted up the Tiber River. One of my guide books compared it to Pompeii, but I think the only thing to two places have in common is that they are super old.

Pompeii was so much more interesting than Ostia. Pompeii had actual buildings, and you could tell what they were - Ostia had half-buildings that used to be warehouses (photo at right). So uninteresting that your eyes just slide right over them. I don't understand how some archeologists can get some excited when they dig things like Ostia up, it's so repititious and mundane. Hmm, kind of like everyday life.

Photo, below: mosaic on a bath floor. Ok, this is cool, but there's only so many ancient mosaics you can see before your eyes cross permanently!

However, for a day to get out of the city, Ostia wasn't too bad. Quiet, birds and flowers, old piles o' rock. The biggest triumph of it all was taking the metro to the regional train all by myself, and back again.

Ok, one cool thing was all the graffitti on the trains. And for that matter, in every public space. But really, graffitti artists here take their work seriously, and they turn out some pretty amazing stuff, very colorful and original. I can see why the authorities don't clean it off the trains - they look so much better with the paint on them!

Photo, right: awesome graffitti on the trains

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